Friday, March 10, 2006

Spots on a tin ceiling

Trendy SoHo art gallery
entertains the well-heeled and the hip
paintings hang like jewels on the wall
magnets for comments
small talk
like the three kinds of wine that fuels it
flows freely
few look up to notice the ages-old pressed-tin ceiling
with a diamond pattern in relief
its fresh coat of white paint
can't cover the vignettes
of generations of tenants long gone
immigrant families crammed ten to a room
mothers nursing newborn babies
elderly relatives breathing their last
strong men with calloused hands
speaking languages strange even in this Babel of Manhattan
all their ghosts mingle
unseen
but felt
in the art gallery

5 comments:

g said...

Good eyes Michael, seeing the legacy artwork on the ceiling.

Michael said...

Alas, I didn't take a picture of it ... :(

Kitty said...

Alas, I didn't take a picture of it ... :(

The words said more than a picture could.

I've been doing my families' genealogy for the past couple of years, so boy, does this resonate.

Michael said...

Thanks, Kitty!

g said...

Yes, your words did a great job capturing the image of the embossed tin. I have often seen these ceilings in old commercial buildings in New England. And your words captured something of what the tin has seen.